(Updates with company news)
LONDON Sept 24 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 13-16 points, or 0.2-0.3 percent lower on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed up 1.6 percent at 6,032.24 points on Wednesday.
* British finance minister George Osborne will open bidding during a visit to China on Thursday on 12 billion pounds ($18 billion) of contracts to build a high-speed rail line, the latest effort to bring Chinese cash to Britain.
* Top UK steelmakers have called on the government to increase help to the sector after SSI UK, the country’s second largest steelmaker, halted production last week, calling into question its future and putting thousands of jobs at risk.
*British car production leapt by almost 41 percent in August compared with the same month last year, bringing output in the first eight months of the year to over 1 million for the first time since 2008, an industry body said on Thursday.
* UK’s health regulator suspended the sales of silicone implants made by Brazil’s Silimed and recommended that none of the devices be implanted until further advice.
* NATIONAL GRID - The National Grid North America, a utility company, said it plans to raise 350 million stg of new debt financing through a structure combining issue of convertible bonds.
* POUNDLAND GROUP - The merchandise retailer said it will raise 50 million stg via a share placing.
* THOMAS COOK - The travel company maintained its guidance for growth this year and said late summer trading had seen strong demand for holidays to Greece and Egypt.
* DAILY MAIL AND GENERAL TRUST - The news and information company said that its full year guidance remains unchanged and in line with market expectations.
* ALLIANCE TRUST - Tue fund said it had appointed Chris Samuel and Karl Sternberg as non-executive directors following consultation with its largest shareholders, which include activist fund Elliott Advisors.
* SVG CAPITAL - The private equity investor reported an increase in its net asset value for the first six months of the year.
* EUROMONEY INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR - The media group sees its full year adjusted pretax profit of no less than 107 million stg.
* AIR PARTNER - The aviation company reported that its underlying profit doubled, with the trading outlook for the full year remaining in line with the board’s expectations.
* WS ATKINS - The design and engineering consultancy said its overall first half performance is expected to be in line with expectations and the outlook for the full year remains positive.
* MICRO FOCUS - The software company said that trading in the current financial year to date has been consistent with previous management guidance.
* Old Mutual goes ex-dividend on Thursday, along with several other FTSE 250 companies.
* OIL PRICE - Oil prices pared losses on bargain hunting on Thursday after sharp falls overnight on an unexpectedly large buildup in U.S. gasoline stocks and seasonally tepid demand.
* PFIZER - Pfizer’s Sayana press became the first injectable contraceptive in the United Kingdom available for administration by self-injection.
* METALS PRICES - London copper was steady above a four-week low on Thursday as renewed concerns over weak demand growth from top consumer China darkened the metal’s outlook against a backdrop of ample supply.
TODAY‘S UK PAPERS
> Financial Times
> Other business headlines Multimedia versions of Reuters Top News are now available for: * 3000 Xtra : visit topnews.session.rservices.com * BridgeStation: view story .134 For more information on Top News visit topnews.reuters.com (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)